‘Forgive me Father, for I have sinned; it’s been nine days since my last post.’
Unbelievable. I certainly did not intend such a chasmic absence however it became unavoidable. As some of you are aware, I have a new job and it involves travel and so since my last post I have been cruising to Far North Queensland on P&O’s Pacific Dawn. My working hours were longer than I expected and internet access was intermittent and via satellite which is certainly slower and less available than what I’m used to. The internet was also only available in public areas and not in our cabins which added to my inability to be on-line while away.
But despite the hard work and a forced absence from you, I loved my mini-break and had a great experience on P&O’s Pacific Dawn. There were a dozen of us on this job amongst the two thousand passengers and we boarded the ship as strangers but quickly became fast friends who shared a tonne of laughs and many good times. The greatest testimony of this was Martyn, who actually had quite a lot of sickness during the cruise and said, ‘If I had to do this all over again, I would do it with the exact same people’. And we all echoed those sentiments.
Have you ever been away with people you have never met and had to work with them 12 hours a day and then share every meal with them and have them rooming just down the corridor from you? If you are in that situation you do want to make sure you’re with like-minded people you can get along with and I was in that very fortunate position. It was hugs and kisses when we all had to farewell each other at the end of the cruise.
We cruised to Far North Queensland stopping at Airlie Beach where we boarded a catamaran and roared out to sea for Knuckle Reef passing by luxury resorts like Hayman Island until we were no longer in sight of land. We pushed on for two and a half hours and finally arrived at a pontoon on Knuckle Reef. We were now at the Outer Reef and for 360 degrees around us there was no sight of land. We went snorkeling in the pristine aqua water that had some of the most spectacular coral I have ever seen and so many varieties of fish that were in every colour of the rainbow. I didn’t see turtles or reef sharks but I did see an enormous Maori Wrasse that seemed very tame and it swam alongside us and wanted to be patted like it was a dog. It was slimy!
As we were leaving Knuckle Reef I saw a tin dwelling on the pontoon and a couple standing beside it waving us farewell. I discovered they actually live on the pontoon! As beautiful and as picturesque as Knuckle Reef is, I could never imagine living in such isolation and being in an environment where you weren’t on land; you just had a man-made pontoon to dwell on and a lot of water around you. And we’re coming into cyclone season!
A couple of days later the ship anchored off Port Douglas. We boarded a tender boat and went ashore for a day exploring the Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge. It was a very hot and sticky day and so a freshwater swim in crystal clear water was very welcoming.
That night was the second-last night of the cruise and our last day of scheduled work so after dinner we went out partying. These are two of the people I cruised with. They are not actual ‘Officers’, they merely dressed up that night and had a lot of passengers fooled.
What is the appropriate caption for this photo?
I am sure it’s not, ‘I already have my shoes under their bed’. I think I’ll go with, ‘Being sandwiched between ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ is not a bad thing!’
And so now I must press ‘publish’ and I look forward to catching up with all over the next few days.